The Adirondack Club & Resort (ACR) was first proposed over ten years ago. Located in the Adirondack town of Tupper Lake, ACR would be a four-season recreational resort conveniently located near the Big Tupper Ski Area and would offer skiing, golf, fishing, hiking, and biking, among other activities. In total, the $500 million project would result in the creation of more than 650 vacation homes ranging from condos to mansions.
Since its initial proposal ACR and its supporters have had to jump many hurdles, but even after all this time, the project is still not yet in the clear.
From the time ACR was conceived, there have been two major obstacles (and countless smaller ones): environmental concerns and money.
Environmental advocates have been adamant that a project of this size located so closely to one of the Adirondack Park’s wilderness areas will cause irreversible harm to the plants and animals that live there. In January 2012, however, the Adirondack Park Agency approved multiple permits that would allow the ACR project to move forward, thereby disregarding environmentalists’ concerns. The commissioners argued that owners of the resort’s vacation homes would be spread out over hundreds of acres, not consolidated together in a harmful sprawl. The plan has also been endorsed by the Adirondack Council, one of the Adirondacks’ largest green groups.
Those endorsements were not enough to satisfy other environmental groups, though, as Protect the Adirondacks and the Sierra Club sued state officials in an attempt to overturn the permits granted by the APA. In July 2014, the state Supreme Court Appellate Division upheld the APA’s issuance of the permits. In December 2014, the environmental groups’ bid to appeal was rejected by a state court.
Financially speaking, the ACR project has two main partners – Michael Foxman and Tom Lawson. Their bold plan includes not only building the vacation homes, but also refurbishing the Big Tupper Ski Area. In addition, Lawson himself has invested in numerous Tupper Lake retail properties and the village’s private airport. The goal is to revitalize downtown in order to attract other investors and buyers for the vacation homes.
In particular, Foxman and Lawson will need to reach buyers with deep pockets – premium mansion lots on the resort property are priced at more than $5 million. Local realtors have been quick to note that this is an extremely aggressive pricing strategy and some even think the developers may be setting themselves up for financial woes. The lots on which the mansions, to be called “Great Camps,” will be built need to be sold first so the rest of the projects can be financed. Unfortunately, until the rest of the resort is underway, people investing in the pricey real-estate may find they aren’t getting much bang for their buck in terms of available activities and amenities.
Aside from sales of Great Camp lots, Foxman and Lawson plan to raise public and private funds for each stage of the project. They have yet to apply for taxpayer-funded investments from the State’s Regional Economic Development Council program, but say they plan to.
The project has been perceived as financially troubled from the start. In 2006, the town of Tupper Lake funded a report that found “the developers’ sales projections were not based on ‘reasonable and substantive’ data,” according to NCPR. Recently, the developers have established a “wait-and-see timeline,” which essentially means they won’t commit to spending money on the project until they have a better idea of what sales they can expect.
Even with the environmental and financial concerns, the town of Tupper Lake in general has been supportive of the ACR plan. If it is successful, the resort would have a significantly positive impact on the local economy, and this possibility already has some individuals investing in the town’s properties. Locals are particularly eager to see the revitalization of Big Tupper Mountain, which has been operated by volunteers in recent years.
Once a homeowner’s association agreement is approved by the New York State Attorney General’s Office, sales of the Great Camp lots can begin, NCPR reports. After that, it remains to be seen how much money can be generated and in what amount of time. It appears as though all legal hurdles are in the past, but until money starts flowing in, the future of the Adirondack Club & Resort is very much up in the air.